DFL activists in several parts of the state are about to get a crash course in how to confer a party endorsement without an actual convention.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minnesota DFL has moved several congressional endorsement fights online. Unlike the state GOP, which held actual virtual conventions, the DFL has designated a nine-day balloting period.

“We felt it would be more accessible to folks,” said DFL spokesman Brian Evans. “It allows for more participation.”

The balloting period opens on Thursday and closes May 23. You need to previously have been elected a delegate or alternate through the local convention process in order to vote. Results will be tallied through a ranked-choice process, and DFL officials hope to announce endorsements soon after May 23.

In the Minneapolis-centered Fifth Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar faces competitors for the party endorsement in Antone Melton-Meaux, Leila Shukri Adan and Haji Yussuf. Melton-Meaux has already vowed to challenge Omar in the August primary if he does not obtain the endorsement.

The DFL also has an endorsement contest in northeastern Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District, where Quinn Nystrom, Soren Sorensen and Gaylene Spolarich are competing for party support in hopes of challenging Republican Rep. Pete Stauber in November.